MESA+ University of Twente


The worldwide energy demand is continuously growing and, according to the forecasts of the International Energy Agency, it is expected to rise by approx. 50 percent until 2030. Currently, over 80 percent of the primary energy demand is covered by fossil fuels. Although their reserves will last for the next decades, they will not be able to cover the worldwide energy consumption in the long run. In view of possible climatic changes due to the increase in the atmospheric CO2-content as well as the conceivable scarcity of fossil fuels, it becomes clear that future energy supply can only be guaranteed through increased use of renewable energy sources.

Global problem: increase in world population and energy consumption. source : Shell energy scenarios to 2050 (2008)

With energy recovery through renewable sources like sun, wind, water, tides, geothermal or biomass the global energy demand could be met many times over; currently however it is still inefficient and too expensive in many cases to take over significant parts of the energy supply.

Global energy resources. source : Hessen-Nanotech (2008)

Due to the usual adaptation reactions on the markets, it is foreseeable that prices for fossil fuels will rise, while significantly reduced prices are expected for renewable energies. Already today, wind, water and sun are economically competitive in some regions. However, to solve energy and climate problems, it is not only necessary to economically utilize renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, but to optimize the whole value added chain of energy, i.e. from development and conversion, transport and storage up to the consumers’ utilization.

Innovation and increases in efficiency in conjunction with a general reduction of energy consumption are urgently needed in all fields to reach the high aims within the given time since the world population is growing and striving for more prosperity.

Potential of renewable energy sources. source : Shell energy scenarios to 2050 (2008)

Nanotechnologies as key and cross-sectional technologies exhibit the unique potential for decisive technological breakthroughs in the energy sector, thus making substantial contributions to sustainable energy supply. The range of possible nano-applications in the energy sector comprises gradual short and medium-term improvements for a more efficient use of conventional and renewable energy sources as well as completely new long-term approaches for energy recovery and utilization.

Application of Nanotechnologies in the Energy Sector. source : Hessen-Nanotech (2008)